Virtual Teams are essential to remaining competitive in the information age. Not only can the implementation of virtual teams save companies a lot of money, but they can also extend the capabilities of these firms. In some cases, companies that have made the decision to switch to virtual teams have saved millions of dollars each year.
A virtual team is a group of workers who function together on a variety of different projects. They will generally work from different geographical locations, which can range from cities to entire countries.
When a company makes the decision to switch to a virtual team, one thing that they must keep in mind is that platforms will need to be standardized. Another good thing about virtual teams is that you can carefully choose those projects you wish to support.
Most high level executives will decide to approve or disprove a project based on the relevancy of the project to meeting business objectives. In the past, having more than $100,000 in your accounting budget meant that the project could be initiated. At the same time, the project has to be important.
Overall, virtual teams allow organizations to compete more effectively in the Information Age. While these teams will never replace physical groups, they do offer organizations major advantages.
The first of these advantages is a dramatic increase in productivity. With a traditional team, everyone will go home at the end of the day at the same time. This means that the work for that day ends at this time. In contrast, because a virtual team can work from different parts of the globe, there is no such thing as an off hour.
For example, if you have a few workers based in Sydney, and the rest are based in New York, when one part of your team goes home for the day, the other team is just getting started. This means that virtual teams can finish projects much faster than traditional teams, since there is always someone working on the project.
Organizations which restrict themselves to just working with a team in the same geographical location cannot take advantage of differences in time zones. The second benefit that comes with virtual teams is a large reduction in transportation costs.
Reduced Transportation Cost
With virtual teams, transportation costs fall widely, atleast in the beginning. Flying to the other side of the globe to have a physical meeting is very expensive, and both today and in the past, it was largely reserved for large and very prosperous organizations.
With the advent of the virtual team, it is no longer necessary for organizations to fly halfway around the world for meetings unless they want to. With the power of the Internet and video conferencing, transportation costs can be dramatically reduced.
However, this is largely the case when the company is small and just starting out. As the company continues to grow in size, it will eventually need to begin spending more money on transportation, since it will have a very strong global presence.
A virtual team is almost mandatory in this day and age. While there are still companies that don’t make use of these, these companies are at a major disadvantage. For example, some major ISPs have call center workers in different parts of the world, such as India.
During the early morning hours in the United States, when customers need to make calls, instead of them getting a message saying that "no one is available to take their call, since the local center is closed," the call is simply re-routed to a call center in India.
This means that the customer gets 24 hour support and they can get their problems solved at any time of the day. It is this powerful advantage that makes virtual teams so attractive to many companies.
Lower Playing Field
Perhaps the biggest advantage of the virtual team is that it can help you to lower the playing field. Put quite simply, the advantages that in the past were only reserved for large corporations can now be used by small business owners.
For instance, a small restaurant in a medium sized American city can compete effectively by using the power of virtual teams. It could take a portion of the money it earns each month and outsource by hiring an SEO firm in India.
The Indian firm would optimize the restaurant’s website, allowing it to rank high in the search engines for local search. This restaurant would be able to compete with and even surpass its local competitors. While very few businesses use this method, it is highly effective.